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Does the Dealer Have an Obligation to Tell Buyer New Car Was Painted?

spyderturbospyderturbo Member Posts: 31
edited March 2014 in Mitsubishi
I own a '98 Eclipse Spyder. Bought it new and it has black paint. I hand wash the car weekly, wax it 3 to 4 times a year and it is garage kept. Recently, I have noticed a haze developing (thousand of tiny dots underneath the clearcoat finish) on the trunk lid and now, slightly on the hood. This has just begun to develop. My first thought is the car may have been damaged in someway before I bought it and the dealer had the trunk and hood painted. My question is, does the dealer have an obligation to tell the buyer that the car has been repainted? Any law that anyone is aware of? My other thought is that the factory paint job is beginning to fail. If it is failing, I would hope that the dealer would provide some compensation since the car just turned 4 years old last month.



  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    Back 20 years ago, I bought a new Mitsubishi captive import-- the Plymouth Sapporo. It was garaged and cared for meticulously. By 5 or 6 years of ownership, I had already reupholstered the front seats, and the roof paint was blistering. The seats didn't make 40K, and the paint gave up before 60K. Every other facet of this car was outstanding.

    Over the years I have come to feel that the Japanese could learn MUCH about paint from Detroit. Harley Davidson is another company that puts out great paint quality, and it is far better than Japanese motorcycle paint.
  • opera_house_wkopera_house_wk Member Posts: 326
    has a policy of informing buyers prior to bidding if a car less that a year old has had any paint work done to it.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I don't believe that the dealer has any obligation to report damage repaired during shipping, especially small dents and other non-structural damage. If the car were hit hard, I'd expect some state laws would kick in at that point.

    Were I a dealer, I would feel under no obligation to report minor damage repair, but I would also be sure that the repairs were done expertly and to a factory standard. In some cases, as noted by other posters, the factory standard would not be a high bar to jump over.

    But a "quickie" spray job would be a nasty thing to do to a new car buyer. I certainly would not condone that and to my un-legally trained mind, that borders on fraud.

    But a small repair done with every effort to be perfect--I have no problem with that and I don't think a new car buyer should either as long as it holds up well.

    If it doesn't, I think the repair job to the new car should be covered as long as the factory paint is covered under warranty. After the warranty runs out, all's fair in love and war and the car business. Buyer beware, look your new car over very carefully.
  • fwatsonfwatson Member Posts: 639
    The original question reminded me of this:

    Quote:"The jury awarded Dr. Gore $4,000 in compensatory damages. In addition, finding that BMW's failure to disclose the paint touchups to customers constituted fraud, the jury awarded Dr. Gore $4 million in punitive damages. The Alabama Supreme Court knocked that award down to $2 million."


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I see from your link that this award was nullified by the U.S. Supreme Court as a violation of 14th Amendment. Basically the award was way out of line with the injury.

    Bad decision in Alabama, but juries will do dumb things sometimes (usually not, I like and respect juries as a whole).

    My point (which it seems might hold water) is that legally /politically it would be difficult to compel a dealer to divulge shipping damage. This decision will also no doubt affect future cases and or legislation of this nature.

    Obviously, if the dealer did the repair correctly nobody would ever know, right? And if no one would ever know, then no one would ever be harmed and the product would not be diminished in value.

    But sloppy paint repair has obviously peeled off and caused owners to be alarmed and offended.
    As I would be in any repair gone awry.

    My car has had some minor body repairs. I'm not going to tell anyone when I sell the car, because I paid a very healthy price for excellent repair work and I have confidence in it.
  • fwatsonfwatson Member Posts: 639
    But in our litigious society, these types of lawsuits have a habit of popping up again. It is grossly expensive for the dealer to defend himself against. And it might be prudent on his part to avoid this kind of problem altogether by disclosing such information.

    I would imaging here are those who would buy the car with a decent incentive.

    Of course minor dings and touchups if done properly do nothing to detract from either the appearance or resale value of a car. But I think a major repair such as a repaint should be disclosed to any shopper who is seriously considering the purchase of an affected vehicle.
  • spyderturbospyderturbo Member Posts: 31
    I'm sorry but a re-paint is NEVER as good as the original factory job and will not hold up as long. Had I known the car had been repainted in anyway, I would not have purchased it. I don't care how excellent of a job the re-paint was, it just won't hold up as long as a job which was done at the factory (whole different process). That's not to say that every factory job is flawless, as we all know there are some imperfect factory paint jobs that somehow escape the "quality control" folks.

    For the amount of money people pay nowadays for cars, it seems dishonest to me for a dealer to not disclose any type of permanent repair work done to the car's finish.
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    I think I missed something here. Are you now saying that you know for a fact that the car WAS REPAINTED before you bought it? I thought that your evidence was only that the paint "went away" by the 6 year age point. I indirectly suggested that your Mitsubishi paint job may have been factory-shoddy as mine seemed to be on my Sapporo. I "decided" that my paint went away in 5 or 6 years because it was not the high quality of paint I was accustomed to having from Big Three factories.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    A repaint by a skilled professional can be as good or better than factory paint in my opinion. The fact that it often isn't doesn't mean that skilled people don't achieve it.

    People are smashing up Ferraris and Porsches all the day long and skilled shops are repainting them and warrantying the work.

    A robot,however, will paint your windshield blue and the 10,000 cars behind it if someone doesn't reprogram it. Even Earl Schieb wouldn't do that.

    But yes, a repaint on a new car is risky if not done well, I can't say it doesn't happen.

    But bumpers and little dings are painted over so much you'd be amazed to hear the number of new cars that aren't "virgin" if I can say that on the Internet.
  • masonmimasonmi Member Posts: 148
    What if a used car was purchased and you've found out later that the car had minor damage such as rear door work or quarter panel work, should the dealer let the customers in on cars that were damaged or fixed just before they're sold to a dealer in an auto auction? Can any action be taken after the sale?
  • malachy72malachy72 Member Posts: 325
    specifically, would one expect an honest answer? If so, then the question should be asked as if you were asking the final price. Should be on everyone's must ask list.
  • masonmimasonmi Member Posts: 148
    My recent car purchase I didn't ask the dealer if the car had been in a prior accident and since the carfax.com site didn't show any outstanding damage history I figured I was safe, and examining the car and taking it for a test drive everything seemed normal. I guess theres no way anyone can go back on the dealership or previous owners about damages?
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    Go back on them? You mean hold them financially responsible? For what? If the repairs were appropriate and cause no harm to the next owner, I would think the situation would not be actionable. And why would you pursue it? If you were cheated and can show loss due to intent to cheat you, then you'd have a case-- perhaps.
  • masonmimasonmi Member Posts: 148
    Well the damages weren't major to the vehicle however if I had known prior to my purchase that there was some work done I most likely wouldn't have made the purchase, theres probably several other customers that would feel the same way if they knew upfront what the car history really is there probably isn't many dealers out there that will disclose prior info.
  • bburton1bburton1 Member Posts: 395
    While in the process of buying a new Honda a few years ago, was walking through a dealer's outside lot looking at new accords-the sun was shining and I noticed tiny scratch marks on all vertical surfaces of each accord. Somebody had been at the new paint jobs with a buffing machine. Asked the salesman "What caused this". well he was typical salesman and said-don't see anything-finally he regained his sight and pointed to a new cell phone tower installed in the middle of the car lot. The dealer gets money for letting them locate this thing in his lot and when they painted the tower-they got overspray on the cars. Well the paint dept just buffed it away with polishing compound. Think any of their customers were told about this-HA HA. Wonder how many have rust showing through after most of the clear coat was ground away.

    When buying a new car-go over it with a fine tooth comb-do not forget to look under the vehicle for transporter damage. Check out all major systems to make sure they work. It is buyer beware out there.
  • hudraheadhudrahead Member Posts: 169
    On a recent tour of the Vette plant @ Bowling Green, Ky. I was amazed at the number of cars being pulled off the line for "rework". Everything from water leaks (seemed like alot of those)paint defects,(poor color match on facias & bumpers)to flunking the dyno test (emissions??). It makes you wonder how well they get put back together especially the ones that had the whole interior ripped out looking for a water leak !!

    We were told that every 20th car or so is pulled off the line and rated by the QC people by a point system. If the total score drops below a certain point the line is shut down and the problems addressed.

    A tour @ Saturn revealed a similiar procedure. Either Saturn has lower standards or they bolt 'em together to a higher standard as there were very few cars in rework. Of course the Corvette runs a miniscule number of cars per day compared to Saturn and I guess they can afford to take the time to hunker down on quality rather than let the dealer do it @ pre-delivery. Both plants absolutely fantastic. If you ever get the chance by all means tour them both.

    hud :):)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Carfax doesn't show all kinds of damage, only damage serious enough for "totals".

    There are legal requirements and moral requirements and the two are not the same, so don't confuse them.

    Should a dealer tell you if your new car has a repainted door? I think so. For a used car? I don't think so. Is he legally required to tell you these things? Apparently not if we believe the Supreme Court.

    Where the ethical and legal might intersect is located in the remark another poster made. If the repair is well done and there is no difference from the appearance and function of "new", who has been harmed?
  • spyderturbospyderturbo Member Posts: 31
    I found this case on the 'net. It think this tells it all! Re-paint, considered inferior to factory paint job and a past practice by a company whom many would consider reputable, to not inform buyers of previous car damage.


  • fwatsonfwatson Member Posts: 639
    That is the exact same case I posted a different link to a few posts up. As the moderator pointed out, the Supreme Court threw it out as excessive.
  • masonmimasonmi Member Posts: 148
    Does anyone know how much damage would a car have to sustain to be listed on the carfax.com report as having damage? would it be a major collision or just fender benders? I know some cars would have a salvaged title if they were put back together but what about cars that were in major accidents? and do not have a salvaged title?
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    Check out the legal concept of probity. As I understand it, you are not liable to someone with whom you have no probity. If you trade your car to a dealer to get a new one, and then he sells your old car to a buyer, that buyer cannot come back to you for responsibility for the vehicle, because the two of you have no probity between you. You had probity with the dealer, and he had it with the new buyer. Probity does not "leapfrog" backward to you. I'm not a lawyer, so be careful what you believe in my best guess above!
  • kinleykinley Member Posts: 854
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Carfax will only show collision damage that results in a DMV "event", which means a re-classified Title to show "salvage" or "rebuilt" or "reconstructed" (different states use different criteria).

    So if DMV never hears about it, Carfax never hears about it, and you never hear about it.
  • spyderturbospyderturbo Member Posts: 31
    You are right, I didn't read your post closely and didn't go to the link. Thanks for pointing this out. Even though the U.S. Supreme Court
    took exception to what they deemed to be a frivolous lawsuit, I did find it interesting that in the Gore lawsuit, the former BMW dealer said the repained car devalued the original value by 10%. Also, the point was made that it is impossible to duplicate a factory paint job, as I have contended.
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    I hope this is the last post in this topic...
  • jlanjlan Member Posts: 81
    Sorry fleetwood, yours is not the last post. The word is "privity." Your explanation of the concept is essentially correct, although local law may impact potential liability.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I have to respectfully disagree with them about the part that one cannot duplicate a factory paint job. I see this level of perfection reached all the time by the best shops. But of course, many try and few succeed, I will grant that.

    I think it would be more accurate to say that one cannot duplicate a factory paint job as quickly and cheaply as the factory does, but I do believe equal quality can be achieved. Whether it is economical to do so is another matter.
  • kinleykinley Member Posts: 854
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
  • 442455442455 Member Posts: 64
    Unless CarFax has changed their reports in the last year, a car does not have to have been rebuilt or salvaged to be listed. I live in Ohio and ran a report on my 96 Pontiac which my son had been involved in a single vehicle accident (hit a guard rail). The report from CarFax showed the accident date, what was hit, and I think it also showed the police report damage as $1200.00. The car was no where near wrecked of rebuilt. Perhaps the accidents are reported only if a police report was made, as Ohio collects all reports and centralizes them.
  • masonmimasonmi Member Posts: 148
    Maybe the Carfax reports vary by state, I live in Michigan and ran the carfax report and it showed no history of accident however I do show body shop work was done at one time. I thought the car fax report pulls info from the DMV ? It would be helpful if every state had accurate Carfax reports.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    CARFAX can access police reports in SOME states, but not many. So obviously in Ohio they can. But you MUST NOT presume that because you see no accident damage in a Carfax report that there wasn't any. All this means is that in your state Carfax is not allowed access to damage reports from police and fire departments.

    In general, the Carfax website specifically lists what their reports show. Here's what they say:

    "Our reports can reveal:

    Totaled in an accident/Salvaged
    Flood damage
    Odometer rollbacks
    Lemon histories
    Junked Titles
    State emissions inspection results
    Lien activity, and/or
    Vehicle use (taxi, rental, lease, etc.) "

    As you can see, all these are generally DMV events,not police and fire events. However, CARFAX lists the following "data sources"


    Note that it says for police and fire reports "Selected States Only"
This discussion has been closed.